Wednesday, June 1, 2016
First I have to apologize to my good friend and fellow blogger Fatmarc for stealing one of his handles. But I Faticus embodies everything that will be captured in this here post. And I named the above fat bike Faticus. I don't always name my bikes. But this name just came to me this week while ready the fatty. I have been called Fat Bike Jesus. It is obviously half taunt half jest. I like fat bikes. I like fun. Fat bikes are fun. I don't know about where you live but around here in the Northeast Fat Bikes were ALL the rage last winter. Or was it the winter before. I mean they were selling like hot cakes! Then everyone sold off their bikes in the Spring when they realized unlike myself, aka Fat Bike Jesus, fat bikes themselves can't walk on water. Or ride through deep snow for that matter. They are a ton of fun in Winter but you have to be realistic. And it is gonna be rough going at times. Its basically snowshoeing with touch of pedaling, but you can rail down some fun powder trails and launch yourself into a snowbank at random intervals. If this sounds like fun to you then fat biking is for you!
But fat biking isn't only for winter. I am pretty sure I invented the idea of racing fat bikes at CX races. Well, if I didn't invent it I certainly encouraged and supported it. Now if racing a SSCX on a CX course is stupid. Racing a fat bike on a CX course is stupider. Is stupider a word? Who knows. But again, its FUN. Actually, if you took the barriers down most CX courses would be a blast on a fat bike. But fat bikes are super heavy. And wicked slow. Or are they wicked slow? In a sense they are. But I had a fat bike epiphany at Singlespeed-A-Palooza. Fat bikes have raced at SSAP for as long as I have gone to the event. SSAP is my favorite bike race on the planet. This year I got a lesson in just how fast a fat bike can be. Let's think of what fat bikes are good at. They roll over everything. Once up to speed do not lose speed. They are basically like an out of control dump truck. And for their weight and size they are very nimble. Shit it sounds like I am describing myself.
Anyway back to SSAP. So as I am deep in the pain cave questioning why I would go couch to SSAP with really only two rides on my SS and feeling sort of sorry for myself I hear the tell tale sound of a fat bike about to overtake me. It is a very distinct sound. Like an A-10 Warthog coming in slow and low and about to light up everything in its gun sights. I hear a loud WOOHOOT CHIP BAKER!!! And get a well needed ass slap and in a blink of an eye my friend Fabian is gone! He is flying. So I try my damn best to catch up and latch onto the fat bike pain train. No chance. Fabian beats me by 15 minutes. That is insane! And sort of got me thinking. One my friend is a bad ass. And he is fast obviously. But two maybe fat bikes are fast.
So I put that in the memory bank and don't really think about it. Then for reasons outside of my control one of my only functioning bikes this past week is my fat bike. What is a boy to do? Obviously just shred the fat bike. There certainly are worse fates. I ride my fat bike all year. It is a ton of fun in the woods. Not so much riding to the woods as it is like driving a John Deere riding mower through town but you are going so slow people actually smile and wave at you. A fat bike is probably the only bike on the planet that actually makes non-bike people smile and say nice things to you. Its like having a lab puppy in the park. Everyone is happy to see you. So my first ride back on the fat bike is at Needham Town Forest. I am not shy about being open about my fear of NTF. Place scares the crap out of me. It is a legit black diamond riding area. I have gotten better in there but its always rough on mind and body. I go in with the mindset of just have fun and play around. I thank Thom for this. He has been posting some rad videos lately from sessioning NTF and it takes some of the fear out of the place.
Its apparent almost immediately how much at ease the fat bike is on these rocky technical trails. There are lots of reasons. One is position I think. I am short. Like hobbit sized. A 29er is a big bike for me. But I love my 29er. It rolls over a lot of stuff and is fast. But a fat bike with 26" wheels allows me to use a riser bar and gives me tons of clearance. The fat tires smooth out almost more trail than a suspension fork. I have a tubeless set up so am able to run around 8 PSI. So within the first two or three technical sections I have already ridden better and cleared stuff than I usually do. It isn't perfect. Definitely more pedal strikes. And I smacked the shit out of the bb more times than I could count. But on a few sections that I have trouble with I was fast. Way faster than on the 29er. So the fat bike earned a nickname. Fatmarc I hope its cool. I promise Faticus will honor your namesake.